Off-by-none: Issue #114

November 3, 2020

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Should you build a serverless application? 🧐

Welcome to Issue #114 of Off-by-none. Here comes some serverless!

Last week, we got FIFO for SNS, nixed the 200 resources limit in CloudFormation, and powered up our python Lambdas. This week, support for WASM grows, we debunk some serverless myths, and ask if a serverless application is right for you. Plus, we have some awesome serverless content from the community.

Serverless News & Announcements 📣

Auto-instrumented, trace-centric observability for serverless & k8s
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Lots of news in the cloud space, including the fact that Pulumi just raised a $37.5M Series B for its cloud engineering platform and Rockset raised $40 million to provide real-time analytics at cloud scale.

Werner Vogels announced that an AWS Region is coming to Switzerland, Tom Preston-Werner, the co-founder of GitHub, released Redwood to bring the Ruby on Rails experience to JavaScript (serverlessly, of course), and Miguel Calles explains why he wrote a Serverless Security book.

Plus, remember all those times I told you to pay attention to Fastly? Well, they not only announced major enhancements to their Compute@Edge solution but also acquired part of the WebAssembly (Wasm) team from Mozilla. If you’re not thinking about Wasm-on-the-server, you should be. It’s likely the future of compute at the edge.

Serverless Stories 📖

Anuj Kothiyal takes you through the process he went through to understand serverless best practices and the key learnings he took from it.

Tyler Treat explains how serverless helps to get big wins with small teams on tight deadlines. He also points out a key distinction that I think is important to understand when choosing your components: “A serverless product is also managed, but not all managed services are serverless.”

And Vijai Ramcharan spends some time introducing the SJGAR stack.

Serverless Use Cases 🗺

There have been a lot of improvements to Lambda this year that opened up more use cases. Janakiram MSV shows you how to turn AWS Lambda Functions stateful with Amazon Elastic File System and use them to do ML inference.

Big data is another common use case for serverless. Maximilian Stoehr, Rajesh Yanamandra, Niels Freier, and Aaron Arnoldsen show you Lighthouse’s serverless approach to data warehousing.

Serverless Concepts 🏗

AWS Lambda has already been adopted by nearly half of companies with infrastructure in AWS. Check out this State of Serverless report from Datadog to see how (and how much) serverless is being used in the real world. Sponsored

The team at Stackery talks about 4 things you need to know about serverless adoption, Kay Plößer debunks some serverless myths, and Vlad Holubiev explains how to create 3x smaller Lambda artifacts by removing junk from node_modules.

Sarjeel Yusuf gives you the lowdown on adopting observability to pull yourself out of the pits of serverless anti-patterns, the team over at Dashbird explain some best practices of serverless at scale, James Beswick takes you through your AWS Lambda data storage options.

Finally, I thought this post from Alex Zherdev titled Async Generators in Use: DynamoDB Pagination explained this concept well. I’m more of an async/await person, but it never hurts to learn something new.

Serverless Tutorials 👷‍♀️

AWS Serverless for Startups
For aspiring entrepreneurs to technical founders, get access to AWS credits & technical resources through our newly launched serverless hub. Build, iterate, and scale faster. Learn more here. Sponsored

Robert Bulmer shows you how to fine tune serverless workflows using the Result Selector in AWS StepFunctions. Plus, Kulasangar Gowrisangar walks you through how to use a presigned URL to upload files into AWS S3.

Paul Chin, Jr. has a three-part series on creating a serverless login with OpenJS Architect. Presumably to secure another Nicolas Cage fan site. And Ken Collins has a quick tip for using New Relic APM with Rails on AWS Lambda.

If you missed the Serverless Land announcement from a few weeks ago, make sure you give it a visit. If you want to learn how they built it, check out Building Serverless Land: Part 1 – Automating content aggregation. There’s a lot to be learned from this.

I also came across this tutorial to Mock a RESTful API with AWS APIGateway and MockIntegration. I don’t think I would do this, but maybe it resonates with some of you.

Serverless Reads 🤓

Not necessarily about serverless, but I always love reading Forrest Brazeal’s insights. In his latest post, AWS hearts multi-cloud? It’s gonna happen., he clears up the confusion around the term “multi-cloud”, and then explains why most companies are already doing it.

In Moving BBC Online to the cloud, Matthew Clark explains how the BBC is approaching cloud adoption, and highlights eight important principles that companies doing the same should follow.

I agree with Krish Subramanian that not all serverless platforms are created equal, but I’m not convinced that running on top of traditional containers is the best approach.

Mitigating Serverless Challenges is a sponsored post, but I think there are some really good points in here. And I thought that Should You Build a Serverless Application? by Tammy Xu struck a relatively balanced approach. Sure, serverless might not be right for everyone, but people are starting to run out of excuses.

Podcasts and Videos… 🍿

There are seven amazing talks from ServerlessDays Virtual – October 2020 Edition that you should check out when you get a chance. You can even hear me give a wrap up of serverless in 2020.

On Serverless Chats – Episode #73, I spoke with Joe Emison about why you should think buying before building, how choosing for organization-wide maintainability makes those decisions easier, why developing trust with stakeholders is so important, and the process that Branch Insurance uses to build and deliver software.

Marcia Villalba has another great video that shows you how to build a contact form with React and how to add API Gateway, Lambda and DynamoDB directly from your Amplify project.

New from AWS 🆕

Another week filled with announcements from AWS. Here are some of the ones I found the most interesting.

First up is the news that Application Load Balancers enabled gRPC workloads with end to end HTTP/2 support. You can use IP targets and route requests to Fargate containers, for a kinda serverless feel (read more).

It’s certainly not your full-featured email management system, but Amazon SES now offers list and subscription management capabilities. Might be worth looking at if your use cases are relatively straightforward.

NoSQL Workbench support for Amazon Keyspaces is now generally available, so if you’re still refusing to move to DynamoDB, you’ve got that going for you.

Also, Amazon Honeycode released three new app templates, Amazon Cognito User Pools enabled easy quota management and usage tracking, and Amazon Textract announced improvements to reduce average API processing times by up to 20%.

Another subtle, but important feature is that Amazon API Gateway now supports disabling the default REST API endpoint. This was something that HTTP APIs already had, but now REST APIs can enforce traffic through only custom domains as well.

Thoughts from Twitter 🐦

One of the AWS services that always amazes and excites me is @dynamodb . And I also eagerly wait every year for @jeffbarr update on how AWS powered Prime Day that year where I rush to see DynamoDB numbers. A thread on how DynamoDB has evolved and scaled over the years Down pointing backhand index ~ Raghu
Somebody’s excited about DynamoDB! This thread gives a great overview of the evolution of DynamoDB and how it keeps getting better and better right under customers’ noses.

This is an interesting thread and interesting problem to solve. I want to make sure my CloudFormation, SAM and CDK teams see this. cc: @luiscolon1, @awsjeffg, and @emeshbi the full thread is worth the read. Some smart folks chiming in. ~ Eric Johnson
This is a very interesting thread that started after some discussion on build versus buy. It’s a great read, but I also appreciate the fact that Eric Johnson is making sure the AWS teams are paying attention.

Serverless Jobs 👩‍💻 Sponsored

Serverless Engineer – stedi.com
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Serverless Architect – Theodo
We build massively scalable, resilient, low cost and high quality systems for our clients in record time using our expertise, technology and methodology. This role is client facing, hands on architecting and building the end solution within a team. Work alongside thought leaders with constant experimentation and innovation, plus dedicated time to work on open-source and content and encouraged to speak at world conferences.

Have a job listing you’d like to share? Please contact me for more information.

Upcoming Serverless Events 🗓

There are a lot of upcoming serverless events, webinars, livestreams, and more. If you have an event you’d like me to mention, please email me.

November 9-13, 2020 – AWS Community Days – online edition

November 30 – December 18, 2020 – AWS re:Invent (Keynotes)

Serverless Star of the Week ⭐️

There is a very long list of people that are doing #ServerlessGood and contributing to the Serverless community. These people deserve recognition for their efforts. So each week, I will mention someone whose recent contribution really stood out to me. I love meeting new people, so if you know someone who deserves recognition, please nominate them.

This week’s star is Marie Hoeger (@_mhoeger). Marie is a Software Engineer for Microsoft Azure Functions, specializing in JavaScript and responsible for the Node.js worker in the Azure Functions runtime. She loves creating intuitive designs and developing an open dialogue with the serverless community. Marie maintains open source code, has an active GitHub presence, and most recently, spoke at a ServerlessDays Virtual event. Thank you, Marie, for making the serverless community a better place! 🙌

Final Thoughts 🤔

It was another week of nonstop serverless for me. I had an amazing time hosting the last ServerlessDays Virtual conference of the year last week, and I recorded two fascinating episodes of Serverless Chats on Friday. As I said last week, I’m really looking forward to all the announcements from re:Invent, and thanks to some info from Chris Munns, it sounds like we should prepare for a firehose. I’ll do my best to distill all the info and share the most important bits will all of you.

I hope you enjoyed this newsletter. We’re always looking for ideas and feedback to make it better and more inclusive, so please feel free to reach out to me via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or email.

Take care,
Jeremy

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Issue #113October 27, 2020

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Issue #115November 10, 2020

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About the Author

Jeremy is an AWS Serverless Hero that has a soft spot for helping people solve problems using serverless, and frequently consults with companies and developers transitioning away from the traditional “server-full” approach. You can find him ranting about serverless on Twitter, in several forums and Slack groups, the Serverless Chats podcast, and at (virtual) conferences around the world.

 

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Off-by-none is committed to celebrating the diversity of the serverless community and recognizing the people who make it awesome. If you know of someone doing amazing things with serverless, please nominate them to be a Serverless Star ⭐️!